Mordenial – The Plague (Melodic Death/Trash Metal)

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Formed in early 2000 the band has had quite the shaky start and it wasn’t until 2015 Mordenial released their debut album Where the Angels Fall. Since then the road has been clear though and The Plague is coming out just two years after the debut with the same line-up. The band has strong ties to one of my favorite old school death metal acts Paganizer as two out of three members are also active with them. With that said Mordenial does not play traditional old school death metal but instead they play a more melodic metal side fused with death and trash. Having more in common with In Flames and At the Gates than Paganizer.

The Plague is a riff friendly album. If you’re a fan of catchy solos and riffs you are sure to get your fill here. With lyrics dealing with the concept of a plague and how people justify terrible acts by pretending to be chosen by a God or Gods they touch on a subject that is very real even today. The opener The Plague doesn’t leave me breathless so to say but I get a few nods in here and there, whereas Daylight is Gone is starting to get me more into the album. It’s not until the fifth track No Empathy I really dig this though. With the slower melodic songs Save You All and especially All Has Vanished following up nicely. However the album never manages to grab my full attention. Sure there are some sweet riffs and solos here and there but it’s not enough for me to appreciate the 44 minutes Mordenial offers. Slow start, a better ending but in the end not what I had hoped for.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Mordenial-524164104262270
Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: In Flames and At the Gates
Favorite song: All Has Vanished
Score: 2/5

Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi (Technical Death Metal)

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Here comes another release from a band that shouldn’t need any introduction. Decrepit Birth, formed 2001, are definitely considered one of the best techdeath bands in existence with their last two albums Diminishing Between Worlds and Polarity being masterpieces. It’s been seven long years since Polarity came out so Axis Mundi is a long awaited album for many metalheads out there. So how does Axis Mundi hold their ground against the rest of the bands discography?

I’ll say this straight away, Polarity remains my favorite album from Decrepit Birth but Axis Mundi is a damn close second. They do differ quite a bit in sound and approach of style so that being said Axis Mundi is another beast all together. Again a top class release to add to their already great discography either way. They are still a force to be reckoned with after all these years. Whereas I had some problem with Origin not being brutal enough Decrepit Birth still is. The riffs, the solos, vocals, drumming and production, Decrepit Birth nails it all yet again with Axis Mundi. Be it Spirit Guide, Hieroglyphic, Transcendental Paradox, Mirror of Humanity or Epigenetic Triplicity you will have a freaking good time. The instrumental track Embryogenesis and Orion are also personal favorites of mine. I mean hell as you already see that’s more than half the album right there being instant techdeath classics of mine. That’s how good this album is. I just can’t grasp how many times I started to headbang as there was a sweet tempo-change with killer riffs or solo going on for days in my mind as I air-guitar away on my seat. The change from being more towards the progressive death metal side on Diminishing Between Worlds and Polarity to mixing it up with adding the more brutal sides they had on …And Time Begins is what makes this yet another masterpiece from them. Which means it doesn’t matter which album you like the most from Decrepit Birth, they have something for everyone in here!

For me this is the best technical death metal album released so far this year. Axis Mundi will be one of the albums every band will want to beat and I am not sure anyone can. Decrepit Birth made a wonderful return with Axis Mundi and I hope we don’t have to wait seven years for another album.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/decrepitbirth
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/decrepitbirth
Label: Nuclear Blast and Agonia Records
For fans of: Origin and Necrophagist
Favorite song: Epigenetic Triplicity
Score: 5/5

Dig Me No Grave – Immemorial Curse (Death Metal)

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Up for some Russian old school death metal anyone? Dig Me No Grave provides exactly that, and more, as their sophomore album Immemorial Curse is Lovecraft death metal at a high level. Formed in 2010 the band waited until 2014 to release their debut Cosmic Cult, which received good ratings from the critics. Immemorial Curse gives you more of the same concept that worked for them in the first place and it’s just as good.

Starting with an intro that tells the horror of the curse Dig Me No Grave blasts off with Ritual Slaughter. Catchy riffs and a lot of groovy from start to finish with some great solos to top it off, Dig Me No Grave got it all for you. As I’ve said before I am a big fan of death metal and Lovecraft, it’s simply a mix that goes very well together. The album is a bit of a mixed bag for me though. All in all it’s a good listen but it lacks consistency for it to reach the even higher scores as some tracks doesn’t feel quite as strong to me as they could have. In many ways this reminds me of a band I reviewed last year, Grond. Both from Russia, plays death metal and creates music about Lovecraft lore. Must be something in the water over there right?

Immemorial Curse is a great follow-up and Dig Me No Grave is sure to make old school death metal fans happy. It isn’t something I haven’t heard before quite a lot recently and it has it’s dark spots but it’s a solid album nevertheless.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/digmenograveband
Label: Satanath Records / Sevared Records / Wings of Destruction
For fans of: Grond and Monstrosity
Favorite song: Edge of Eternity
Score: 3/5

Amentia – Scourge (Technical Brutal Death Metal)

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From Belarus a techdeath band named Amentia have come to surprise us all with some of the best brutal technical death metal you will hear all year. They might not be a household name within the genre, yet, but Amentia have existed since 2003 with Scourge being the bands third full-length release, six years after their sophomore album Incurable Disease. Having never heard of the band myself I was caught off-guard by the bands tight riffs and blasting drums. To me this is close to a perfect score, everything just seems to hit the right notes at the right times.

Not a single song on the album is even close to being bad and Scourge has been on repeat several times these past days. Only thing is that the songs tends to be a bit indistinguishable which makes it hard for the songs to stand out to one another. Sometimes that can be a good thing, sometimes not and in this case I would like there to be some more variation. In a year when heavy hitters like Decrepit Birth, Suffocation, Hideous Divinity and Hour of Penance are releasing killer techdeath Amentia are making a great effort to stand tall next to those monsters. This is the perfect opportunity to get to know a great upcoming band with an album you do not want to miss.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amentiabelarus
Label: Satanath Records / Amputated Vein Records
For fans of: Defeated Sanity and Decrepit Birth
Favorite song: Noble Death
Score: 4/5

Pathology – Pathology (Brutal Death Metal)

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The self-titled album from heavy hitter Pathology is upon us. This is the 9th release from a band who’ve been the gateway for many when it comes to slamming brutal death metal. Formed in 2006 by legendary drummer Dave Astor (founder of Cattle Decapitation and The Locust) Pathology have released a new album every single year, amazing work if I do say so myself. Alongside bands such as Abominable Putridity, Devourment, Visceral Disgorge and Kraanium my journey into the slam world began a few years ago. I’ll tell you right now, I am not an insanely big slam fan just as I isn’t with brutal death metal (granted I enjoy BDM more). There is simply too much shit within the genre. As I read somewhere on Reddit some time ago “for every good slam band, there’s 50 shitty ones”. I think that summarizes quite well what I think of the genre. That being said Pathology is one of the bands that do produce some wicked good slam!

Pig squeals, gutturals, chuggy groovy riffs full of breakdowns your thing? Hell Pathology got you covered once again my friend! Their 9th release is just as brutal as their old albums and when tracks like Servitors, Putrescent or Shudder comes on you just have to get fucking mental. The thing with slam is I think it has a ceiling to it that prevents it from staying in my playlist for a longer amount of time. It’s simplicity and overall trying too hard to sound brutal as fuck all the time is good for a few spins during the year but it’s generally not something I remember. It goes in one ear and out the other.

Pathology suffers from the same fate. Whereas I think this is almost as good as it gets within the genre, the genre in itself has a limitation to it. I had a good time with Pathology, just as I do with all their albums, but this isn’t something I will remember for long. For you hardcore slam fans out there though this is a must have.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PathologyMusic
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PathologyMetal
Label: Comatose Music
For fans of: Abominable Putridity and Visceral Disgorge
Favorite song: Putrescent
Score: 3/5

Excommunion – Thronosis (Brutal Death/Black Metal)

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Been waiting to review this EP for quite some time now and lucky I was to receive it in the latest The Metalhead Box so I could listen to it on an actual cd. Excommunion is a band I am not too familiar with but I’ve heard good stuff about them. The band was formed in 1998, Colorado, and are known for playing brutal death metal with atmospheric black metal elements, which is exactly the reason they caught my eye. That and the two band members Christbutcher (bass, vocals) and Kyle Spanswick (guitars, vocals) both being active members of Nightbringer. So there has to be a lot of potential in a band like that.

Oh and was I right! The opener Twilight of Eschaton is freaking brutal! I swear to you this is an EP you do not want to miss. I understand perfectly what they mean with atmospheric black elements joined together with the sheer force of brutal death metal. It’s a sound I haven’t really heard before but hell I love it. You can hear that this is death metal from members you usually associate with the black metal scene with influences from both Nightbringer and Enthroned being heard here and there. Just like Morbid Angel, Incantation and Immolation makes their influences on Excommunion.

Each track stands tall on their own, none being the weak link. I could choose either one of the tracks for my favorite song, not just due to the four songs being being solid with none standing out. Rather I think they all do in their own right.

Ladies and gentlemen be taken in by this whirlwind of darkness like me, you deserve it. Thronosis is my rite into Excommunion and I am ready for them to lead the way. One of the best releases I’ve heard all year.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Excommunion
Label: Dark Descent Records
For fans of: Enthroned and Morbid Angel
Favorite song: Twilight of Eschaton
Score: 4/5

Winter Deluge – Devolution – Decay (Black Metal)

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I rarely review albums released in 2016 as they are simply not new enough but seeing as Winter Deluge’s sophomore album Devolution – Decay came out early November I am making an exception. Formed in 2005 as Desecrate this black metal act from New Zealand have started getting a following in the underground scene so I was interested to hear what they are all about.

The raw sound Winter Deluge oozes out screams second wave black metal with a touch of death. Think Immortal having a bastard with Archgoat and they spawned the great Winter. Devolution – Decay got a great flow to it and the songs transition well into the next. The crushing riffs, harsh growling and pummeling drums is something any black metal lover can appreciate and will be sure to get their fill with this album. How Winter Deluge creates the perfect passages between the tracks is what I love the most with the album, it’s so fluent and makes the whole experience that much better. It also leaves me in a bit of a peril, which song do I like the most? With each listen it changes but that just means Winter Deluge has done a great job with Devolution – Decay as it’s an black metal album I am glad I received although almost a year too late. Definitely one of the better albums I missed from 2016 and now you, as well as I, have a chance to get to know these black hearts from New Zealand.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WINTERDELUGE
Label: Frozen Blood Industries
For fans of: Immortal and Archgoat
Favorite song: Corrupt Prophets
Score: 3/5